Leading companies are transforming operations with Airtable

Leading companies are transforming operations with Airtable

Key learnings from our Builders Connect event in San Francisco

Leaders from several industries came together at Airtable’s Builders Connect last Tuesday, where speakers and attendees explored the limitless flexibility of Airtable while agreeing that the platform (like most software solutions) is “only as good as its business implementation.” 

The goal of these ongoing Builder events is to share ideas for deploying Airtable across large organizations, and to explore ways leaders must evolve operations to keep up with changing business needs and emerging technologies like AI. 

Attendees receive a sneak peek into the Airtable product roadmap, and preview upcoming features designed to make Airtable more impactful, more connected, and more delightful for everyone to use. 

“The easiest way to build and connect apps “

From Airtable customers like Twilio and Airbnb, to trusted consulting firms and contractors, every attendee had at least one thing in common: using Airtable to power their mission-critical operations. 

“Our goal at Airtable is to be the easiest way to build and connect apps that power critical workflows across your organizations,” said Emily Houlihan, product manager at Airtable. Emily kicked off the agenda with a product roadmap, which was followed by a customer spotlight and a highly sophisticated (and surprising) session on tips and tricks. 

Our speakers included:  

  • Brinda Sivalingam, partner engineer and technology manager at YouTube, an Airtable customer 
  • Rob Lee, senior manager of user experience at Broadcom Software, an Airtable customer
  • And from Airtable: Owen McClave, senior director solutions engineer, Mathieu Leonelli, solutions architect, and Emily Houlihan, product manager. 

Here are the highlights: 

“4 key platform requirements essential to the enterprise”

The future we see for the Airtable platform involves meeting four essential requirements for the enterprise, Emily said in introducing the product roadmap.

These requirements include: 

  1. The ability to build apps that are easily adoptable and delightful to use. “Dare we say, as delightful to use as the personal apps on your smartphone,” Emily said.  
  2. A way to embed AI into workflows. “Making AI accessible and functional for employees across the company…by allowing the people closest to the work to implement AI the way they want.”
  3. Connecting teams and processes with structured and shared data. “There should never be a question if what you’re looking at is accurate—governance is a big part of this. We’re thinking about scaled data in relation to trusted data.”
  4. Guaranteeing scale, security, and control. “We know that you trust us with your sensitive data and information, and we take that seriously,” Emily told the audience. 

In the product roadmap, Emily showed the next evolution of Airtable AI, and a new way to calculate and visualize data in Interfaces. She also teased a feature that will bring “a little more zen” to those who are “kind of terrified” to make changes to their base today. 

“Tech is only as good as its business implementation” 

Leaders from YouTube and Broadcom Software shared tips on leading by example, creating clear documentation and learning paths, and inspiring a team of employees to evangelize Airtable adoption. 

“We share interfaces with different teams as a way to collaborate and bring people along for the ride,” Rob at Broadcom Software said. “Building what people need—addressing use cases that people really care about—is the first step to creating Airtable evangelists.”

Both leaders use Airtable to bring transparency and rigor to timelines and approvals, and they integrate Airtable with different tools and teams. 

“Let’s skip the basics”

The event ended with Tips and Tricks from Mathieu at Airtable. He breezed through the basics, and went straight to “advanced” and “power” hacks to make Airtable easier. The audience reacted to the following:

  1. Collaborate mostly through Interfaces. “99% of users should live in interfaces, only builders should have access to the data or logic layers,” Mathieu said.
  2. Use Actionable Messages to trigger actions from Slack. “These are great for yes or no answers, and especially for getting approvals.”
  3. Beyond command-F, there’s a way to search for something across all interfaces. “Command K on mac, and control K on PC…it’s a game changer.”

If you're interested in meeting other industry leaders and networking with Airtable customers and experts, sign up to attend our next Builders Connect. See the upcoming schedule and register here.

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